Skip to main content

Aspirin and Heroin: Wonder Drugs of the 1890s.

Image result for bayer heroin
Over-the-counter medicine, 1898.




There are plenty of commercial medicines on the market.  Occasionally some medicines will get pulled due to certain side effects that no one saw coming.  One of these was developed as a painkiller, initially, known as diamorphine.  The English scientist who invented it couldn’t find a use for it, but about twenty years later, scientists at the German company Bayer developed diamorphine into a painkiller and cough suppressant, as well as an anti-anxiety drug.  Its benefit was that it was less addictive than morphine, which was usually what was used for those maladies (except for suppressing coughs).  The drug first hit the market in 1898, under the commercial name Heroin.

This is the same heroin that’s such a problem today, but at the time, it was viewed as an effective, over-the-counter medicine.  It wasn’t until 1914 that the drug was even regulated in the United States.  After World War I, as part of the concessions Germany had to make to the Allies, Bayer had to surrender its patents to several of its more successful medicines, including Heroin and Aspirin.

Heroin consumption continued afterward, and concern grew about the drug.  Its therapeutic value was called into question, and by the 1930s, nations started to ban it.  Small-h heroin is still around, and it’s seen as a scourge rather than a boon.  Aspirin is still around, too, but Bayer never got its trademark back, so any pharmaceutical company can manufacture the drug.

Available wherever Bayer products were sold.  (Some products may be discontinued today.)  Order now!

Comments

Natalie said…
It's amazing how little has changed in 100 years. Everyone talks of opioids as a mysterious epidemic, but they need to look no further than their friendly pharma corp sales rep.

Popular posts from this blog

The Star-Spangled Banner: The Original Lyrics

If you’re an American (and quite possibly even if you’re not), you’ve certainly heard the tune called “To Anacreon in Heaven” numerous times.  It’s a stirring melody, and can often sound very proud, and if someone asked you to hum a few bars, you probably could do a creditable job of it, even if you have no musical ability at all.  The tune is that familiar.  Of course, it has another name that you probably know better: “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

But the song’s first name was “To Anacreon in Heaven”.  The song asserts that Anacreon is in heaven, right from the first line.  Whether Anacreon actually is in heaven, I’ll take no position on, but he most certainly is dead.  Anacreon was a Greek poet who lived from circa 582 BCE to 485 BCE, which is a remarkably advanced age for the times.  Anacreon was celebrated for his songs about drinking and love and having a good time.  Maybe not the weightiest of literature, but even the most serious poets and thinkers need to take a break now and …

Alcock and Brown: The First Transatlantic Flight

Since his celebrated landing in Paris 90 years ago, we often hear of Charles Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic.  He flew solo, taking off from Roosevelt Field in Brooklyn and landing in Le Bourget field in Paris after a flight of 33½ hours in his cramped, lightweight plane, The Spirit of Saint Louis.  Lindbergh was one of several individuals or teams who were competing for the Orteig Prize: a $25,000 purse offered to the first to fly from New York to Paris, offered by wealthy New York hotelier Raymond Orteig.  Lindbergh took off and landed perfectly, and managed to navigate the whole way without getting lost.  This was quite a feat in the days before computers to aid navigation, or the elaborate system of air traffic control that would come into being, once commercial airlines started to develop.  What Lindbergh did immediately made him an international hero and a household name for years after, with streets and buildings and yes, airports, named after him.  To this day, Charles …